Asian Markets Rise; China Unexpectedly Keeps LPR Unchanged

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By Alex Ho – Asian markets ended the week with a much needed reprieve from days of heavy losses. 

China fixed its 1-year Loan Prime Rate (LPR) on Friday morning at 4.05%, the same as a month earlier. China also set the 5-year LPR at 4.75%, also unchanged from a month earlier.  

The hold defied investors’ expectations for a cut which would have been in line with moves by central banks around the world. Central banks have been cutting rates and offering stimulus packages to stave off a recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

China’s gained 1.15% by 9:57 PM ET (1:57 AM GMT) while the was up by 1.13%. Hong Kong’s was up by 3.38%, reversing losses shortly after markets opened.  

In Australia, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg hinted during an interview with Sky News Friday morning at a second stimulus package that will be “significantly bigger” than last week’s A$17.6 billion ($10.7 billion) package. On Thursday, the Federal Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates to 0.25%. 

The rebounded from losses a day earlier and was up 3.25%. 

Elsewhere, South Korea’s was up 3.16%.  

Japan’s is closed for a national holiday. 

Despite the gains today, investors remain wary that the worst from the COVID-19 novel coronavirus is far from over. Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio warned in an interview with CNBC: “What’s happening has not happened in our lifetime before … what we have is a crisis.”  

He estimated the price tag for U.S. corporations could be up to $4 trillion. 

“There will also be individuals who have very big losses. … There’s a need for the government to spend more money, a lot more money,” Dalio said. 

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